Wondering About Collaboration
75 outrageous ideas for librarians to impact student achievement : fun ideas to motivate students and inspire collaboration by Laurie Noble Thelen (Linworth Publishing, 2008, 89 pp., ISBN: 1586832328)
Of the many definitions of the word outrageous, we suppose that our author means: highly unusual or unconventional; extravagant; or remarkable. Thus, sone approaches this thin book with high anticipation. As we read the various activities, we applied the question: “Are two heads better than one?” That is, would the combined efforts of teacher and teacher librarian be better using these activities than if either of the partners tried to do them alone? We also looked at the process of collaboration, asking: Does the information literacy goal for the lesson support the learning of the content objective? Does the assessment actually measure both the content and the information literacy skill to be taught? Does the learning activity actually match the objectives stated? Are the learning activities “outrageous?” Was there a “so what” activity at the end of the learning activity to stimulate higher-level thinking? And, finally, How likely would the activities contribute to achievement as stated? We think such questions should be emblazoned on planning sheets, posters, and into the minds and hearts of every teacher librarian. When given the great gift of collaboration, how do we actually perform? We did find a few activities here that were mildly interesting, but not enough to justify the purchase of this book. However, the purchase might be justified for a professional development session with teacher librarians at a district level. Take a copy of the book, cut it up and distribute pages to teams of teacher librarians. Using the rubric questions above, have the group critique and reinvent the activity they are to critique. Perhaps we could all gain better ideas of actually how we could contribute to teaching and learning. So, in a strange way, buy this book and then be outrageous enough to move beyond it as you test your own creativity and skill.
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